Run Better All Summer

Get off that treadmill and put your senses to work by running outdoors

Posted: 4 May 2010
by Ruth Emmett

Running Outside

Summer's almost here - so get off that treadmill and head for the great outdoors. "There is nothing better than fresh air, and the new sights and sounds you get from running outside," says running coach Liz Fulford (

"You will also become a stronger runner: working out on varying terrain and uneven surfaces strengthens muscles and tendons." Here's how to make the break.


If you've only ever run in the gym, your first outdoor session may be tricky. "Treadmills help you run because the machine provides forward motion," says coach Jeff Galloway (

Running on varied terrain is more demanding: begin easy, with one run-walk session a week. "If you can run 30 minutes on the treadmill, when you head out, run one minute and walk one minute for half an hour," says Galloway. The next week, increase your run/walk ratio to 2:1 and continue building it at a comfortable rate. 

Plan Your Route

While you adjust to running outside, reward yourself by taking an interesting route. "This reduces boredom and helps you keep going," says Fulford. "You get a sense of actually running to get somewhere, rather than just waiting to hit the stop button once your time's up." You can use a mapping website, such as, to work out the distance you've covered.

Mark Your Territory

You may need to take more frequent breaks while you adjust to running outside. Fulford suggests that you plan for this and use landmarks, such as benches or lamp posts, to divide your route into manageable chunks. Think about any particularly challenging spots on your route, and what role the weather might play: "If it's windy, run against the wind initially," Fulford says. "Then on your return, when you're tired, you'll get a boost from having it behind you."

Hill Power

Ready to step up to a new challenge? Tweak your route so it includes one or two gentle inclines. Running uphill strengthens your quads and glutes, while haring back down teaches you to control your form at even at faster paces. "Chose a route where the hills are a few miles into the run," says Fulford. "That way you will be warmed up before you have to face them." 

This article is taken from our June 2010 issue, available on the newsstand now. Also in this issue: the mental secret to effortless running, 10 everyday foods that heal you, how gadgets can make you a better runner and four foolproof pacing sessions to get you off to the best possible start.

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Discuss this article

So glad I stumbled upon this article.

This bank holiday Monday I plan to run outside after many many years of treadmill running, and I've just read this article with great interest.  Lots of helpful tips.

Wish me luck!

Posted: 28/05/2010 at 13:47

Best thing running outside,
I hate dreadmill running, really do not get any decent sensation from it.

 Be prepared to not do the same distances or times you can do on the dreadmill, they simply do not translate well from my experience

Posted: 28/05/2010 at 15:56

I run in all weathers even when very hot
Posted: 28/05/2010 at 19:05

Well I did it.  Out at 6.00am this morning, by the time I got back it was bang on 7.00am.  I ran/jogged all the way apart from the last 2-3 minutes where I walked briskly and felt as if my legs were no longer a part of me!

On it seems I covered 4.57 miles in an hour.  I guess that's not too bad going.  When I'm on the treadmill I do 7-7.5 miles in an hour.  

It also seems odd that I don't feel as if I've worked as hard this morning outside as I do on the treadmill.  

But it was so liberating to be out in the fresh air and hear the sounds of the countryside!

Posted: 31/05/2010 at 08:48

I only run outside, but it is good to use tredmills for posture and form running.
Posted: 04/06/2010 at 16:33

I only run in the tread mill if the weather means I can't run outside...
Posted: 29/06/2010 at 20:38

I don't know how anyone can run on a treadmill.

 I tried one once during last winter, when it was snowing, and managed about 20 minutes before terminal boredom made me stop and go and run outside, snowing or not

Posted: 02/07/2010 at 16:36

I hate runnnig on treadmills!!Runnig outside is so much nicer in the fresh air and scenary!!I can run for hours outside on treadmill I get bored aften ten minutes!
Posted: 01/08/2010 at 22:19

If anyone is running on treadmills then stop and get yourself outside. It's hardwork at first but the satisfaction and enjoyment you get from outdoor running is fantastic.

It'll not be long before you're addicted like me.

Posted: 20/08/2010 at 09:44

Just got back from my run. Melting snow,slush,patches of ice and puddles. Still managed to enjoy myself.
Posted: 09/12/2010 at 20:41

Well ive done it !!!!!!!!!!!! put my name down for a half marathon next month, training is going well i run three half hours in the week monday wednesday and  a friday then do 14-15 miles on a sunday morning in about 1hr 25-3o im told that is good . i remember when i first started just over a year ago i could not run for more then 15 minuts without wanting to fall on the floor and die rather then take another step but look at me now.

Posted: 09/04/2011 at 19:25

15 miles in 1 hr 25 mins translates to a 1 hr 14 min half which is very fast indeed.  You're either extremely talented or have the distances measured wrong.

 Also you could do witha mid week run longer than 30 minutes.

Posted: 09/04/2011 at 20:02

That is one fantastic speed, i dont think you need advice
Posted: 29/05/2011 at 21:03

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